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Edward Seckerson

Updated 15 days ago

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Edward Seckerson

Latest release on Jun 15, 2019

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Reviews, Blogs, Podcasts

DAME PATRICIA ROUTLEDGE: Facing The Music – A Life in Musical Theatre

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Dame Patricia Routledge trained not only as an actress but also as a singer and had considerable experience and success in musical theatre, both in this country and in the United States of America.

Her many awards include a Tony for her Broadway performance in the Styne-Harburg musical “Darling of the Day” and a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide”. Her one woman show “Come for the Ride” toured the UK in 1988 and in 1992 she played Nettie Fowler in the highly acclaimed production of “Carousel” at the National Theatre. In 1998 she was honoured with the Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

In this fascinating encounter she recalls this very special part of her career with access to some rare and treasured recordings.

Upcoming dates for my show chronicling one of the best kept secrets in the business – Dame Patricia’s extensive career in musical theatre.

2020 Due to the COVID-19 outbreak all 2020 have been postponed.

REVIEW: Caz at Let’s Go To The Movies

Facing the Music: A Life in Musical Theatre with Patricia Routledge

Patricia Routledge in conversation with Edward Seckerson
Date: Saturday 9th April 2016
Venue: Customs House (South Shields)

When checking what’s coming at the Customs House a month or so ago I noticed that they had Patricia Routledge as an event in conversation with Edward Seckerson. No way I thought Mrs Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances coming to South Shields?! That was certainly something I was very interested in, even more when it was all going to be based around her background in musical theatre. A background that is in fact not massively well known. Although I will admit that I did do a little bit of research before the evening and saw that she was a Tony and Olivier Award winner.

The information about the evening claims it is one of the best kept secrets in show business and I certainly think that makes it even more fascinating. I must first start off by saying that it did not disappoint and it was a truly fantastic night at the theatre listening to stories and hearing singing clips from the brilliant actress/performer and woman.

A table with flowers, two glasses of water and chairs were set up already for the show. The applause was fantastic as she appeared on stage after listening to a song and a short introduction from Edward Seckerson. The theatre was packed out in the main stalls, I was sitting higher up on the side.

We were taken down memory lane all the way from her childhood which she attributed to how she ended up in Musical Theatre. With plenty of singing at home in Birkenhead just over the river from Liverpool. Not that you would ever guess that she should have a Scouse accent due to how well spoken she has always been. Elocution lessons were once seen as very important and that always contributed to Patricia ending up on the stage. She was very humble about her up bringing and that she never really expected anything to come from singing and acting.

She also had a little dig at the schools now claiming to be academies and that should go back to being Council schools. Interesting to hear her thoughts and views on some recent events when it comes to schooling. A lot of which makes a lot of sense in all honesty considering how bad some of them have become. But also sad that the Arts seem to be forgotten about now, not as much singing and learning of heritage.

We learn about how she worked her way up in Theatre from being Assistant Stage Manager and then getting into productions one step at a time. I really do think this talk would have been brilliant for anyone trying to get into the Theatre business and realising that you have to work hard and work your way up and get to know people along the way.

It was such an engaging evening as we were told all about the different shows she had appeared in, as well as listening to different songs from them and truly hearing the range of her very powerful voice which very nearly went into Opera with experience in that area. Truly inspiring to know how hard she worked to get into Theatre and continuing singing lessons, as well as studying English at University all of which would lead to performing on stage.

The musical clips were put together very well even though at one point she did have to tell them it was too loud and to turn it down for the next song! Which had the whole audience laughing out loud. She is a naturally funny person as even little things were amusing especially in exchanges with Edward. Who seemed to be having the time of his life showing such passion not only for Musical Theatre but for Patricia Routledge’s career. Something which made the evening even more enjoyable. It started at 7:45pm and did not finish until just before 10:40pm with about a 20 minute interval, making it incredible value for money. I am pretty sure everyone would have been very happy to sit and listen to them both talking all night.

Was lovely to find out her favourite musicals among them being My Fair Lady, Oliver and Fiddler on the Roof. Although it did not seem as though she was a big fan of more recent shows. Was mortified that some leading stars have alternates who would do some shows for them so they didn’t have to do eight shows per week!

It really was fantastic to learn more about the actress as well as an in-depth look into the world of Musical Theatre in both the West End and Broadway. She was very emotional when talking about her Broadway debut and getting ready for the curtain call, the role for which she won her Tony Award as well.

Thank you Edward Seckerson for wanting to do a brilliant show like this, giving so much knowledge and insight from start to finish. It really was well worth heading to the Theatre to listen to such great stories.

Listen below to Dame Patricia discuss her 2016 New Year’s honour with Sarah Vaughan on the BBC’s Today show 31-12-2016 during which she mentions not only this show but a few of her many other accomplishments

Jun 15 2019

5mins

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Edward Seckerson talks to RENÉE FLEMING about The Light in the Piazza

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Early in the development of Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas’ extraordinary The Light in the Piazza it was thought that Chicago Lyric Opera might be tendering a commission for the piece. It wasn’t to be. Broadway beckoned. But this most sophisticated of hybrids has a foot in both worlds and the presence of RENÉE FLEMING in the London Premiere of the piece is testament to its uniqueness – a free-flowing lyric seductiveness that is all about the intoxication of love amidst the statues and squares of Florence, Italy.

During a break in rehearsals for Daniel Evans’ Southbank staging EDWARD SECKERSON spoke exclusively to the celebrated opera diva about Piazza, Guettel, the legacy of his grandfather Richard Rodgers, the crossing of musical genres, the celebration of vocal diversity, and the magic of the microphone in facilitating a more confidential tone.

Jun 13 2019

18mins

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A Conversation With VICTORIA WOOD: New TV drama, ‘Loving Miss Hatto’

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In 2007 Gramophone magazine uncovered an extraordinary fraud that rocked the classical music industry. Concert pianist Joyce Hatto – a little-known artist of moderate talent – was suddenly the name on everyone’s lips when a series of recordings (some 100 of them) flooded the market winning plaudits in the press and on BBC Radio 3 where one of them was selected as “Best in Catalogue” in a comparative review on CD Review’s popular “Building a Library” feature. The only problem was that these weren’t Hatto’s recordings at all but those of other established pianists whose recordings had been pilfered and even digitally “enhanced” by her husband and greatest champion Barrington Coupe. Hatto was dying of cancer and Coupe wanted to create a legacy for her that would far exceed anything that would she would have been capable of in life. The fraud was only discovered when an American journalist put one of her CDs into Itunes and the read-out revealed another artist altogether.

Now the story has been dramatised for television in a BBC film entitled Loving Miss Hatto written for the screen by Victoria Wood and starring Francesca Annis and Alfred Molina. In this exclusive audio podcast for Sinfini Music Victoria Wood talks to Edward Seckerson about the project which she so exhaustively researched to bring to dramatic fruition. It’s a fascinating insight into the working process of a seasoned writer. Wood talks, too, about her own musical beginnings and enduring musical passions.

Originally published: 16th December 2012.

Loving Miss Hatto is a Left Bank Pictures production for the BBC

This podcast was originally created on behalf of Sinfini Music .

Apr 21 2016

23mins

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A Conversation With JAN VOGLER: Dresden Music Festival 2016

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TIME is the overriding motto for the 2016 DRESDEN FESTIVAL. Music can play with time in so many interesting ways, music can even suspend time creating frozen moments, moments of stasis where time ceases to exist – and in the words of festival director Jan Vogler “A good concert always provides us with a magical discourse between the past and the future.” In this exclusive audio podcast Vogler talks to Edward Seckerson about the mysteries of time and motion as it relates to the 2016 festival beginning as it does with an extraordinary all-night vigil of music set in motion by the work of British minimalist pioneer Michael Nyman known to the world for his extraordinary scores for Peter Greenaways’ ground-breaking films like The Draughtsman’s Contract. Vogler talks about the cleansing force of minimalism and the changes that it wrought on an ever more complicated musical landscape. He talks, too, about the international character of the Dresden Festival and how keen he always is to create a sense of “music without borders”.

And the question of borders, with regard to the ever growing refugee crisis engulfing the world, is addressed, too. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Jerusalem Quartet will remind us how composers like Mahler and Shostakovich deployed Jewish folk music as a source of irony, of pathos born from bathos, and how music became the weapon of choice in the arena of peaceful protest.

Vogler himself plays the Schumann Cello Concerto – a work he loves – twice at this year’s festival and in doing so he explains how important it is that each individual performance or event is unique to that time only. Time may be fleeting but the memories linger on.

image © Jim Rakete

Apr 11 2016

28mins

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A Conversation With SIMON SLATER: ‘Carmen Disruption’ at the Almeida

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Simon Stephens’ Carmen Disruption upends the expectations of anyone entering the Almeida Theatre. It’s a kind of living poetry, taking its cue from Bizet’s ever-popular opera but taking it into ever darker territory. When does an artist’s assumption of a role end and real life take over?

This is the Carmen we know and love, thoroughly deconstructed – and the man tasked with creating the musical soundscape for this trippy odyssey to the dark heart of the piece is composer, instrumentalist and actor Simon Slater. In this exclusive audio podcast he talks to Edward Seckerson about the genesis of a unique theatrical event.

http://www.almeida.co.uk/

http://www.slatermusic.com/

May 06 2015

15mins

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A Conversation With LIISA RANDALU: Schumann Quartet release 2nd CD

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The brothers Erik, Ken, and Mark Schumann founded the SCHUMANN QUARTET in 2007 and it might well have been an all-family affair had the cellist’s twin sister chosen to switch from violin to viola and join them. The Schumann brothers are of German/Japanese heritage – an interesting mix of temperaments – and perhaps because of their sister they were drawn to a female becoming the fourth among equals. The Estonian violist Liisa Randalu did so in 2012 and in this exclusive audio podcast she is spokesperson for the group – only fitting since she is at the centre of the sound – and talks to Edward Seckerson about the quartet’s journey so far. It’s been a wild ride to date with the quartet turning heads and attracting notice wherever they perform. Their reviews have reflected the excitement they generate and with their second CD release – an ARS Production – challenging expectations and bringing together Mozart, Verdi, and Charles Ives the plot certainly thickens. Schumann is a name to live up to and how could the quartet bearing such an extraordinary composer’s name not want to push the envelope.

http://www.schumannquartett.de/

Feb 16 2015

23mins

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A Conversation With DAME JANET BAKER

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Every now and again – but only very rarely – a professional engagement comes along that is so personal, so loaded with treasured associations, that it transcends all normal parameters and takes on a significance all of its own. This was such an occasion.

I first met Dame Janet two years ago on the jury of the Guildhall Gold Medal for singers and somehow or other, despite the pressures of the evening, we managed to find a few quiet moments to reflect on some of my memories of her performing career. She was most gracious (and illuminating – we shared some Leonard Bernstein memories) and afterwards in a one of those pinch-me-is-this really-happening moments I escorted her from the Barbican to the underground (no chauffeured car for her) through that dank tunnel chatting the while about singing and singers, conductors, accompanists, musical styles, trends, you name it.

We met subsequently in a social situation and then word came through from the London Jewish Cultural Centre – where I have begun to do a number of “audience with” events – that they had secured Dame Janet for an evening at Ivy House. We all know how very rare public appearances from this legendary artist now are. Her premature retirement from stage and platform has been very private and in recent times has been given over to caring for her ailing husband Keith Shelley whose management of her illustrious career was nothing short of devotional.

Part of the joy and satisfaction of this evening came with putting the elegant and erudite Dame Janet before her audience once more and somehow validating the many years of pleasure she brought to those of us who admired and followed her every performance and recording. There are many treasures there, of course, and by necessity I was only able to represent six composers – Elgar, Bach, Berlioz, Britten, Gluck, Mahler. But they wove a musical thread through some riveting and highly philosophical reflections on the art and the “business” (in the commercial sense) of being a singer at Dame Janet’s level; the importance of audience, of the right teachers and the right collaborators. There were fascinating thumbnail sketches of the great (but diminutive) Barbirolli; of Sir Charles Mackerras and his obsession with the ornamentation, of the tyrannical George Szell and humane Carlo Maria Giulini. We now know (and I was intrigued to know) why Dame Janet has never “chested” for dramatic effect either on stage or in a piece like Elgar’s Sea Pictures where the temptation is strong. I assumed it was because she preferred to use the words for dramatic effect when in fact it was something far more practical – as in the configuration of her voice and technique simply didn’t allow for it. Or, put more simply, she didn’t know (or want to know) how to do it. We learned also how the physical abandon of her work on stage (from one so “composed” on the platform) was incredibly liberating for her – freeing her instrument, her whole being.

Part of the evening’s magic lay in watching Dame Janet listen intently (“sheer torture”, she described it) to her own recordings – sometimes with visible dismay, sometimes amusement. To be sat alongside her as the last of Mahler’s Rückert Lieder – “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” – unfolded was positively surreal. In a song about the isolation and loneliness of the artist it conjoured so many emotions. Her second recording with Barbirolli – in my view one of the great lieder recordings of our time – transcends mere performance and takes us to an altogether other emotional plane. In her stillness and concentration it was as if she was actually singing one last time.

At the close of the evening I quoted back to her a line from her book Full Circle: “We are all soon forgotten; five minutes after I leave the platform for the last time I shall be forgotten.” It hasn’t quite worked out that way, has it.

Now that you can relive the event by clicking below, I just want to share a priceless moment that happened before we both went on. I felt a hand on my arm accompanied by the words ‘Are you alright?’ ‘Im fine’, I replied, ‘A little nervous.’ ‘So am I’ were the words that came back. How special was that.

 

First published: 30 October, 2013

Dec 25 2014

1hr 34mins

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A Conversation With LINUS ROTH: Crusading for Weinberg

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The Polish composer Miecyzlaw Weinberg – his Holocaust opera The Passenger caused quite a stir in David Pountney’s premiere staging – has a new champion. The talented young German violinist Linus Roth has taken his music and his legacy to heart in a big way. New recordings of the complete Sonatas and the little heard Violin Concerto (in a coupling with the Britten Concerto) on the enterprising Challenge label reveal a composer of many facets and a deep and abiding conviction. His music chronicles a life of tragedy, determination, and defiance, and in this exclusive audio podcast Roth talks to Edward Seckerson about Weinberg’s extraordinary journey – his flight from the Nazis, his kinship with Dmitri Shostakovich, and the finding of his own distinctive voice. Roth reveals what it was about Weinberg that spoke so directly to him and how he believes that the Violin Concerto is a major work which will in time achieve the widest currency. He sees his advocacy of the new and the neglected, past and present, as a responsibility – and that it is players not promoters who keep the repertoire growing.

Photo by www.wildundleise.de

http://www.linusroth.com/

http://www.challengerecords.com/

Sep 17 2014

23mins

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A Conversation With VASILY PETRENKO: Shostakovich Symphony No.13 “Babi Yar”

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With the final release in Vasily Petrenko’s much-lauded Shostakovich cycle on Naxos the young maestro talks to Edward Seckerson about a masterpiece the Soviet authorities tried but failed to sabotage at its first performances. YevgenyYevtushenko’s poem “Babi Yar” with its accusations of anti-Semitism was the flashpoint but social protest runs deep in the piece and nothing in the composer’s output hits home quite as hard or as movingly. It is, in effect, his testimony.

Sep 02 2014

19mins

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A Conversation With CORINNE WINTERS: Life before and after the London ‘Traviata’

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In February 2013 Corinne Winters created an absolute sensation in her operatic European debut when Peter Konwitschny’s starkly intense staging of Verdi’s La Traviata arrived at English National Opera. Vocally, physically, dramatically her Violetta (“the whore who gets all the best tunes” according to Konwitschny) was so “complete”, so unanimously greeted by superlative reviews, that it marked a highly significant arrival on the international opera scene. According to the American born Winters, twelve important contracts arose directly from that run of performances. In this exclusive audio podcast she talks to Edward Seckerson about life before and after the London Traviata; about growing up with rock and pop music and something close to a resistance of opera. She talks most eloquently about the development and health of her voice, of the support team of trusted advisors who help steer her choices. She is currently back at ENO in Terry Gilliam’s hotly anticipated staging of Berlioz’ rarely performed Benvenuto Cellini which she believes further ratchets up the excitement and pushes the possibilities of operatic staging. Her Royal Opera debut beckons in 2016 – a new production of a challenging classic. 

http://corinnewinters.com/

May 30 2014

28mins

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A Conversation With VASILY PETRENKO: Shostakovich’s Symphony No 14

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At its première in June 1969 Shostakovich described his Symphony No. 14, in effect a symphonic song cycle, as ‘a fight for the liberation of humanity… a great protest against death, a reminder to live one’s life honestly, decently, nobly…’ Originally intending to write an oratorio, Shostakovich set eleven poems on the theme of mortality, and in particular early or unjust death, for two solo singers accompanied by strings and percussion. This is the penultimate release in Vasily Petrenko’s internationally acclaimed symphonic cycle.

The Fourteenth Symphony is a powerful, death-obsessed work, unremittingly gripping, and the penultimate work in the canon of 15 symphonies. Petrenko’s cycle has thus far received huge international acclaim, winning accolades from The Sunday Times, Gramophone, IRR, Fanfare, BBC Music Magazine etc.

The award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the UK’s oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra, dating from 1840. The dynamic Russian, Vasily Petrenko was appointed Principal Conductor of the orchestra is September 2006 and in September 2009 became Chief Conductor.

Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Symphonies, Volume 10
Symphony No. 14, Op. 135
Gal James, Soprano • Alexander Vinogradov, Baritone Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra• Vasily Petrenko

Feb 08 2014

17mins

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A Conversation With REINHARD GOEBEL & MIRIJAM CONTZEN: New Mozart Violin Concertos recording

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In Leopold Mozart’s old house (now a museum) in the Bavarian city of Augsburg a piano tuner is hard at work tuning one of the working exhibits – a venerable clavichord. Enter Reinhard Goebel and Mirijam Contzen whose new Oehms Classics recording of the Six Mozart Violin Concertos with the Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie is sure to stimulate lively debate and maybe even raise eyebrow or two in the coming months. For one thing there are six not five concertos and that is something that Goebel, after exhaustive detective work, is now confidant should be the accepted norm. In this exclusive audio podcast with Edward Seckerson he outlines precisely why he now believes that the Concerto KV 271a is genuine Mozart despite the New Mozart Edition’s continued insistence upon annexing it. It’s a fascinating and convincing case he makes and Mirijam Contzen is on hand to offer the player’s perspective.

Goebel is a colourful and forceful personality and that has been reflected over the years in his ground-breaking and super-dynamic recordings of repertoire from the 17th and 18th centuries. He is passionate about giving music historical context and his programmes (and recent recordings) with the Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie – a dynamic young ensemble he can now call his own – are constantly looking to champion the composers who laid the foundations for composers like Mozart. And that all-important word “Style” – we can all learn a thing or two from him in that regard…

http://www.kammerphilharmonie.de/

http://www.oehmsclassics.de/

Feb 03 2014

28mins

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A Conversation With RUPERT GOOLD & DUNCAN SHEIK: ‘American Psycho’ – A New Musical Thriller

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In the season of goodwill a new musical based on Bret Easton Ellis’ notorious novel American Psycho might earn itself the subtitle “NOT the Christmas Show” – but when the composer is Duncan Sheik, he of the sensational Spring Awakening, and the director Rupert Goold, fresh into his artistic stewardship of the Almeida Theatre, all bets are off. There’s even a number entitled “Mistletoe Alert” – so the season of rampant consumerism might well prove just the time to launch one of the most anticipated musicals of this or any season. In this exclusive audio podcast Sheik and Goold tell how the bloodiest show since Sweeney Todd has reached the stage and how for Matt Smith the leap from Doctor Who to Patrick Bateman – city slicker and seasoned psychopath – might not prove so dramatic after all. Bateman is surely one of the most alien and elusive creations in contemporary fiction.

choreographer Lynne Page with Matt Smith © Manuel Harlan

Book writer Robert Aguirre-Sacasa has embraced the Batemanisms – “It all comes down to this: I feel like shit but look great” – and Sheik will be referencing the 80s soundtrack in Bateman’s head as a textural part of his eagerly awaited score. Patrick Bateman live on stage. Bring a raincoat.

Cassandra Compton (Jean), Matt Smith (Patrick Bateman) and Director Rupert Goold © Manuel Harlan

http://www.almeida.co.uk/
http://www.duncansheik.com/

Nov 19 2013

21mins

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A Conversation With GIANLUCA MARCIANO: Italian style and traditions

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Bowing in at the London Coliseum for the latest revival of Anthony Minghella’s sumptuous staging of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, conductor Gianluca Marciano is fast building a reputation as one of the most thoughtful and stylistically incisive of thoroughbred Italians on the circuit. In the UK his work at Grange Park Opera has garnered impressive reviews and he has taken the Italian tradition East with his Music Directorship of the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Company in Georgia – a great breeding ground for some impressive vocal talents – and the Artistic Directorship of the Al Bustan Festival in Beirut. In this exclusive audio podcast he shares with Edward Seckerson his views on the Italian style and traditions, his thoughts on the role of the conductor, his love of literature and the classics and even musicals, his need to be informed. His belief that everything in music is essentially a form of singing tells us more than words ever could about his musical philosophy.

http://www.gianlucamarciano.com/

Oct 15 2013

24mins

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A Conversation With VASILY PETRENKO: His Shostakovich symphony cycle

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As Vasily Petrenko’s much-lauded Shostakovich symphony cycle moves closer to completion we reach the renegade Fourth Symphony written in 1935 and driven underground by Stalin and his establishment naysayers. This astonishing piece  – which remained unperformed for 25 years until 1961 when Kondrashin in Russia and Eugene Ormandy in the USA brought it in from the cold – represents the moment, in Petrenko’s view, when Shostakovich really became Shostakovich and with significant inspiration from Gustav Mahler on matters of sonata-form and the lethal deployment of irony was able to leave prescribed traditions behind and forge a path of his own. As with every release in this series, Petrenko talks to Edward Seckerson about the cycle in general, the piece in particular, and some very personal conclusions of his own.

http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573188

http://www.liverpoolphil.com/274/vasily-petrenko/

image: Vasily Petrenko by Mark_McNulty

Oct 01 2013

17mins

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A Conversation With MARY MILLER & ANDREW LITTON: Bergen Opera

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In the listening room of Grieg Hall, Bergen – a concert hall sometimes masquerading as a theatre and vice versa – Edward Seckerson talks to Mary Miller, Director of Bergen National Opera, and Andrew Litton, Music Director of the venerable Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra – about the genesis of opera in Bergen and the prospect of the big Autumn production – Beethoven’s cry for freedom and political tolerance, Fidelio – which will serve as an upbeat to the 200th anniversary of the establishment of Norway’s Constitution in 2014.

Miller talks about the creative freedom of an opera company which is project specific and not beholden to a roster of contracted artists while Litton endorses his passion for Beethoven and references the many reasons why this his only opera is so close to his heart. He speaks of Beethoven’s genius for self-editing, of innovation (the timpani not tuned to tonic/dominant for the great dungeon scene), of the supreme challenges of both vocal and instrumental writing. Most fascinatingly, in this staging of Fidelio the Bergen Philharmonic will quite literally become the main protagonist.

http://www.bno.no/

http://www.harmonien.no/

Sep 24 2013

25mins

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A Conversation With MAURY YESTON

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On the day that the “chamber” version of his Tony Award winning show Titanic opens at London’s Southwark Playhouse the loquacious MAURY YESTON – composer of Nine and the “other” Phantom – chats to EDWARD SECKERSON about his journey in musical theatre. An undergraduate at Yale University, Yeston majored in music theory and has been influenced by everything from Stravinsky to Doo-Wop. His Titanic score is a compendium of all things British from Gilbert and Sullivan to Charles Villiers Stanford. Yeston has been a major presence at the BMI workshop in New York, mentoring and encouraging music theatre talent and crucially giving them an “audience” in the honing of their skills. As anyone who has ever heard the opening “symphony of voices” in Nine will testify his is the most fertile of musical imaginations which married to a great nose for drama makes for a master practitioner in the genre.

Jul 31 2013

45mins

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A Conversation With BENJAMIN WALLFISCH

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Benjamin Wallfisch was born into an extraordinarily musical family. His father Raphael Wallfisch is a cellist of international repute and his grandmother Anita Lasker-Wallfisch would not be alive today had her cello not served as a refuge for her soul while she was an inmate at Auschwitz. Benjamin did not play the cello but instead graduated from piano to baton in pursuit and fulfillment of his musical passions.

He also fell in love with the cinema and while watching ET take his leave of Elliot in the closing sequence of Steven Spielberg’s classic movie he realised how much of the emotion of that sequence came directly from John Williams’ score. Ben wanted, needed, to do the same and after a seven-year apprenticeship to movie music ace Dario Marianelli he was paid the greatest compliment of all when he orchestrated and conducted what was to be Marianelli’s Oscar-winning score for the movie Atonement.

He now has 43 movie scores under his belt and his latest for Summer in February starring Downton Abbey’s Dan Stephens is sure to haunt the airwaves for some time to come. His concert pieces are mounting up, too, and when he’s not conducting a Shostakovich violin concerto he might be caretaking his own. In this exclusive audio podcast he vigorously refutes the notion that movie music is in some way a poor relation of the music that daily fills our concert halls and indeed is quick to tell Edward Seckerson that speed of composition is as vital for him in his concert pieces as in his movie scores. That way lies the spontaneity he so passionately seeks.

http://www.benjaminwallfisch.com/film/

Jun 19 2013

28mins

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A Conversation With LUCY SCHAUFER

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Lucy Schaufer has always been one to confound our expectations. As she puts it herself, she’s “an American in London, conceived within the American Dream and living in the Old World.” As an indication of her boundless versatility she’s been seen here in roles as diverse as Claire DeLoone in Bernstein’s On the Town, Thea in Tippett’s The Knot Garden, and Jenny in Knussen’s Higglety Pigglety Pop! She made a huge impression at the Leicester Curve as Margaret in the UK premiere of Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza. “Carpentersville” is her debut album and in this exclusive audio podcast she talks to Edward Seckerson about her reasons for doing it, her choice of material, and who she is as an artist. “The voices heard in these songs”, she says, “are women telling their stories of love, hope, humour, worries and woes from the simplicity of childhood dreams to the shattering acceptance of life’s limitations. And all of it through the vision of a kid who grew up in a small town outside Chicago called Carpentersville.”

http://www.lucyschaufer.com

May 01 2013

25mins

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A Conversation With IAN BOSTRIDGE

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It comes as no surprise that international tenor Ian Bostridge plays a significant part in EMI and Virgin Classics‘ contribution to Britten 100. In this exclusive audio podcast talks to Edward Seckerson about the man, the music, the insecurities, the contradictions, the isolation that came with being a pacifist in time of war and a homosexual in a time of illegality. Bostridge talks from first hand of Britten’s extraordinary gifts as a word-setter – a composer of songs and operas that define his special gifts and, of course, his inspirational union with Peter Pears, his muse, his, partner, his rock. Bostridge talks about how the pears legacy has impacted on generations of tenors in this repertoire and how those operas and the characters he wrote specifically for Pears were essentially about aspects of himself. EMI and Virgin Classics are putting together a collection of new releases to celebrate Britten 100 and three brand new recordings feature Bostridge himself. He talks about them here: an album of Britten Songs with Antonio Pappano including “Winter Words” and the “Michelangelo Sonnets”; a new War Requiem from Pappano’s Santa Cecilia forces in Rome; and a live Rape of Lucretia  from the Aldeburgh Festival 2011 conducted by Oliver Knussen.

Apr 15 2013

29mins

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